The past and present start to blur in this episode as Anna’s fall accelerates and the timelines inch ever closer together. As the episode comes to a close, everything falls into place — in the near past, Rachel walks into the DA’s office saying, “I want to tell you about my friend Anna. I think she’s a con woman,” as Anna flees a bench warrant and boards a flight to Los Angeles. In the show’s present-day (2018), Vivian’s article baby and actual baby are born, both in dramatic fashion. The episode takes its time getting to both these points, with lots of stressing, fretting, and tears along the way.
Although Rachel never does get in touch with Vivian for her article — because, it turns out, Rachel’s writing her own first-person account of the Marrakech trip fallout for Vanity Fair — we do get to see more of her story this week, starting right after Marrakech and then hopping forward three months. To make a long story short, Rachel spends the three months after Marrakech in an increasing state of panic (and also, kinda-sorta starting to date Noah the videographer). Anna isn’t paying her back (duh), and she’s used up all her money paying the minimum balances on both her personal and corporate cards. Eventually — obviously — someone at Vanity Fair notices the Amex situation, and Rachel is treated to a suspension and investigation since, from the company’s POV, she helped her friend defraud them. For the entirety of these three months, Rachel is in deep denial, so caught up was she in Anna’s web of fakery. She’s insistently hopeful that Anna is still her friend and is going to pay her back. In this way, she and Neff (who pops up toward the end of the episode to remind Vivian and us just how much she dislikes Rachel) are sort of similar, though Rachel’s faith seems to come from blind optimism, while Neff’s loyalty to Anna seems to come from feeling a real bond with her.
Rachel’s bubble finally bursts, and after a failed Anna intervention with Kacy and (confusingly) one of Kacy’s clients, Nicole, she starts to stand up for herself at work and goes to report Anna to the district attorney’s office. And, of course, at some point, she decides to write her piece for Vanity Fair.
The publication of said piece in the show’s present-day sends Vivian and Paul into a tailspin, but with the help of — who else? — Scriberia (who hates Paul and makes it known in no uncertain terms), Vivian manages to finally start writing her article. “It started with money, as it so often does in New York,” she types, and for much of the rest of the episode, Vivian is wearing noise-canceling headphones and write-write-writing away. Except when she’s in the hospital, hearing from her doctor that labor is imminent, or interviewing Kacy about the intervention Kacy “forgot” to mention during their previous chats. Despite the spiral Rachel’s piece sets off, the fact that she has to sit on a towel in case her water breaks, and a close call with Kacy deciding she wants “out” of Anna’s chaos and Vivian’s article, Viv does, indeed, finish the damn thing. As she gets Kacy to agree that her quotes will be used, but not her name or identifying details, Vivian’s water breaks and Jack leads her out of the office while all her colleagues applaud her. She then gives birth, dramatically, achieving her earlier stated goal of having the baby “knowing that she kicked ass and won!”
Could this possibly be the most dramatic finishing of an article and concurrent giving-birth scene ever depicted in pop culture? We may never know for certain, but it sure seems to be a contender. I’m torn between rolling my eyes at the dramatic timing and also feeling kind of proud of Vivian for pulling it off. We get more reminders of what’s at stake for her, professionally, throughout the episode. Her Scriberia colleagues discuss the Donovan thing while she’s in her writing fugue state, and the episode starts off with the usual textual reminder slightly tweaked: “This story is completely true … except for all the parts that are total bullshit!” is printed on the front pages of the Post and Daily News, both a fun meta twist and commentary on the media as a whole and Vivian’s “bad journalist” moment. Add that to Vivian’s impassioned defense of her story to Landon and Paul once Rachel’s piece publishes, in which she says her story matters because it’s “about the swindle that is the American Dream in the 21st century! I am talking about the theft of our ideals, the stealing of a presidency, the fetters on female ambition; it’s about why scam culture is here to stay!” … I mean, I was convinced (so was Landon, FWIW). Once again, the show has hammered home why the whole Anna Delvey story appeals in the first place.
There’s somewhat less Anna in this episode than usual — for the first half, she’s just text bubbles and voice-over in Rachel’s phone — but what we do see of her (in the recent past) shows even more of her house of cards crumbling than we got in episode six. While Rachel is desperately trying to track her down, Anna is hotel hopping, eventually getting arrested when she can’t pay the W Hotel. She’s intervened (is this the verb form of being the subject of an intervention?) by Kacy, Rachel, and Nicole, and her insulting, gaslighting manipulation doesn’t work its usual magic, especially once Kacy and Rachel break the news to her that 281 Park has been leased to Fotografiska. She rides the subway all night and eats from a Shake Shack bag someone’s left on a seat. She meets Todd — because of the W arrest — and tries to stay with him, which he shoots down immediately, then skips out on her court appearance and flies to L.A. after pulling off some check-cashing fraud. That’s where the episode leaves before-times Anna; meanwhile, present-day Anna is busy flipping out in her prison cell after a guard gives her a copy of Vanity Fair and she sees Rachel’s piece.
So Anna’s fall from social grace has most certainly ramped up, and she’s speeding toward the inevitable indictment that lands her at Rikers and kicks off Vivian’s whole reporting journey. And with Vivian’s article publishing — the printing press from episode one returns at the very end of episode seven — well, the Anna Delvey story is definitely coming to some kind of conclusion. When will the two timelines meet? Will the case actually be the death of Todd? And will Vivian and Jack’s baby’s first words be scam culture? Only time — and two more episodes — will tell.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
• Anna-ism of the Episode: Vivian channels Anna when fighting with Jack about her impending labor: “People have babies every day. People squat in fields! We are not special!” And it gets another mention when she’s mid-labor later on. I’m sure Anna would be crowing to hear herself quoted this way.
• Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge: “WeWork Because He Works: Adam Neumann’s Unstoppable Rise” is an article on the Vanity Fair website when Vivian is anxiously waiting for Rachel’s story to drop. Another scammer is in the building, y’all!
• Fashion Is Life: There is no real fashion commentary in this episode, but doesn’t Anna realize how wearing huge sunglasses inside to withdraw thousands of dollars in cash from a bank looks … kinda suspicious?